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Duff: Norwalk I-95 Widening 'A Go'

NORWALK, Conn. -- It looks like the long-awaited widening of I-95 in Norwalk is "a GO!"

State Sen. Bob Duff sent an email to the Connecticut Department of Transportation early this week, and Thursday, July 7, he got a reply. "I heard back from them saying, 'Yes, we are a GO' and that was kind of the most confirmation that I have received to date," Duff said.

The project, funded 100 percent with Governor's Transportation Initiatives money, will be advertised in late December, he said. Construction will start in early spring 2012.

"Bridges carrying local roads over I-95 will be replaced [Fairfield Avenue, Cedar Street and Taylor Avenue]," Duff wrote in an email. "We'll be adding left-turn lanes on U.S. 1, constructing sidewalks, and of course, adding the operational lanes on I-95 SB between US 7 and exit 14, and on I-95 NB between Scribner Avenue and the Fairfield Avenue off ramp. We are also improving how storm water is handled on U.S. 1, as well as on I-95, to alleviate street flooding concerns in the project area."

Between exits 14 and 15 is where Route 7 enters I-95 from the north.

Gov. Dannel Malloy promised to make the I-95 improvements a priority last October, calling it "chokepoint number one" on the corridor. Duff credits him now with carrying through on that campaign promise. "There's been this kind of a proverbial red line that DOT uses to fund or not fund projects, based on their budget," Duff said. "We've been kind of on both sides of the red line, and I've been concerned about making sure we stay on the right side of the red line and I know the governor has been a champion and a supporter of the project. ... I know that the governor helped make sure this project was above the red line, because he understands how important it is, not only to Norwalk, but really to the region as well."

Duff sent Malloy a letter Thursday requesting that the project move ahead because he was concerned about pending layoffs and cuts in transportation funding. But after he sent that letter he received the good news from the DOT via email.

He isn't sure but he expects the project to take a few years.

According to the 2009 South Western Region Time Travel Monitoring Program report compiled by the South Western Regional Planning Agency of Stamford, more than 150,000 vehicles travel over 3.2 million miles daily along the southwest portion of I-95. Route 7 sees approximately 63,000 vehicles daily. A spring 2009 driving survey found the mean travel time from the Housatonic River in Stratford to the New York State line along I-95 was 57 minutes, traveling 36 miles per hour. The survey cited Norwalk exits 16-14 as among the slowest stretches of the highway.

Are you psyched? Or worried about the delays construction will bring?

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